PDF/EPUB Walter Van Tilburg Clark ò The Ox Bow Incident Epub î The Ox MOBI :✓ ò

Set in 1885 The Ox Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West First published in 1940 it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned The result is an emotionally powerful vivid and unforgettable re creation of the Western novel which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil individual and community justice and human nature As Wallace Stegner writes Clark's theme was civilization and he recorded indelibly its first steps in a new country


10 thoughts on “The Ox Bow Incident

  1. says:

    Ostensibly an ordinary western about murder and cattle rustling in Nevada the year 1885 many miles outside the city of Reno around the tiny settlement Bridger's Wells a cow town with a vengeful posse tracking down the guilty parties You would be wrongthis is so much what is justice and the reuirements needed in order to achieve that elusive goal This novel from 1940 and the Henry Fonda film version made in 1943 are a rare occurrence when both the book and the movie become classicsA young rider really a boy confused scared brings bad news to town Lawrence Kinkaid a very liked man has been slain by cattle thieves what to do? This shameful situation has to be corrected immediately and Sheriff Risley a honest capable lawman is a distant ways off The men of the village cannot let the criminals escape besmirch their reputations show the rest of the silver state how competent they are here Led by former Confederate major Tetley a man noted for his unbending behavior with an iron hand knows right from wrong he says nothing is gray either black or white men like sheep follow his stern never gentle orders however his own weak son Gerald hates himThe town drunk Monty Smith had stirred the mob to a fever pitch which was easily accomplished anger is thick as molasses in Canby's smoke filled liuor smelling saloon felt by all and good friends Art Croft Gil Carter have uestions though The two cowboys have just left the harsh range after many long lonely weeks tired thirsty hungry dirty wanting excitement see other humans; not sure of the guilt of the three killers soon captured after a tough ride in the mountains as the snow falls but they came along with a large group of 28 Gil likes to drink in fact get drunk and fight win or lose he strangely feels better afterwardsArt is uiet thinks things over especially just before the hangings but men are cowards afraid to be different and few challenge the uneasy proceedings A tough end yet needed to tell a story which necessitates it how the human race must stand up and not let justice be thwarted This little gem has a lot to offer written at the start of the Second World War and warns people of the evil in men's hearts no one should be intimidated but fight for their freedomThe Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance Nevertheless the public has a short memory and reuires constant reminders


  2. says:

    Wow just Wow I thought I was sitting down to read a western classic about a hanging but what I got instead was a study of human nature moral cowardice and how easy it is to allow evil to happen when men believe that following a bully who chooses to ignore the facts or listen to reason gives them an excuse to do violence in the name of justice This book may have been written in 1940 but it's descriptions of men's actions in the guise of avenging a wrong is relevant since the dawn of time and up until the present dayThis book gets five stars not because I enjoyed it I didn't And not because I liked any of the characters I didn't And not because I think that reading books like this will keep things like this from happening I don't But because someday it may be necessary for me to speak up for some obscure person or cause and remembering this story will give me the courage to do so


  3. says:

    When I turned the first page of this book yesterday afternoon I never dreamed I would be putting it down about 24 hours later stunned by the perfection of this book I feel unworthy to even try to expound on what astounded me about this literary masterpiece so will make a uick summary of the plot and offer some uotes from the author to explain why it is a masterpieceSummary Think western but one with something important to say The entire book takes place within a 24 hour period beginning in a small Nevada town and traversing to a small canyon with only one inlet outlet Talk of a murder of a uiet man that few knew and even fewer knew well and rumors of cattle rustling ignite the fires of justice mob justice that is What makes this book incredible is that when the reader finishes heshe must sit back and uestion themselves whether they wouldwouldn't have done things differently What about the responsejustification after the deed was done?One of the most meaningful afterwords I've read follows this story Here is what Clark had to say about his western setting I had repeatedly found the stereotypes both the people and the situations of the standard horse oprey in my waySo in part I set about writing The Ox Bow Incident as a kind of deliberate technical exercise It was an effort to set myself free in that western past by taking all the ingredients of the standard western and seeing if with a theme that concerned me and a realistic treatment I could bring both the people and the situation alive againClark's comments on what the book is about and why he wrote the book The book was written when the whole world was getting increasingly worried about Hitler and the Nazis and emotionally it stemmed from my part of this worrying It was certainly obvious the whole substance of the story that it was a kind of American Naziism that I was talking about I had the parallel in mind all right but what I was most afraid of was not the German Nazis or even the Bund a pro Nazi pre WWII organization but that ever present element in any society which can always be led to act the same way to use authoritarian methods to oppose authoritarian methods What I wanted to say was It can happen here It has happened here in minor but sufficiently indicative ways a great many times5 starsThank you Cheryl in Nevada for recommending to me


  4. says:

    If you have read To Kill a Mockingbird this book is just as great on a similar topic at a different place and timeWestern but not a western by what we expect now of that genre It is a study of men and how they relate to each other and what the pack mentality can accomplishRelentless in its momentum it takes us through 24 hours from the point where two young cow punchers come into town after a long isolated winter They learn that a murder has taken place out on the range and that someone wants to form a posse to get the guys who done it Walter Clark gives us a host of characters most drawn with deftness and nuanceThere is not a cliche in this powerful and timely book about men and justice As with Harper Lee this is Clark's sole novel the story he had to tell Be prepared for one of the most memorable books you will ever read


  5. says:

    A Philosophical Western NovelThe Western genre in novels and films was once rejected by many people as formulaic and superficial The genre suffered from these traits and from over exposure but it also produced many fine literary and cinematographic works Among these works in both novel and film is The Ox Bow Incident The 1940 book was the first novel of Walter Van Tilburg Clark 1909 1971 who lived in Nevada for much of his life In 1943 Clark's novel was adapted into a film of the same name directed by William Wellman and starring Henry Fonda This review is about the novelClark's novel is a story about the nature of justice and the dangers of mob action and jumping to conclusions It is set in 1885 in the fictitious small town of Bridger's Wells Nevada The novel is told in the first person by Art Croft who with his friend Gil Carter ride into town one afternoon after hunkering down over the long winter At the local saloon the two cowboys learn that there has been a cattle rustling and a murder of a local rancher As outsiders they are initially viewed with some suspicion An effort uickly develops by the town residents and the ranchers to organize a posse to bring the rustlers and murderers to justice Croft and Carter reluctantly join inThe pacing of this novel varies and makes for sometimes difficult reading Following the opening chapter in the bar the novel slows down as the townspeople gather around to discuss the situation and decide what to do A large group of differentiated characters are introduced making for slow reading Different points of view develop with some people wanting to form a lynch mob to catch and kill the alleged rustlers and murderers while others urge a restrained approach Among the latter is the elderly owner of a general store Davies who tries to dissuade his fellows by discussing the imperative character of justice The town judge is at first reluctant to become involved but he too ultimately tries to dissuade the posse and potential lynch mob He asks the citizens to bring back the alleged wrongdoers for trial rather than taking the law into their own hands Many elouent passages in this book discuss the nature and majesty of law An example is the following speech by Davies to his fellowsLaw is than the words that put it on the books; law is than any decisions that may be made from it; law is than the particular code of it stated at any one time or in any one place or nation; than any man lawyer or judge sheriff or jailer who may represent it True law the code of justice the essence of our sensations of right and wrong is the conscience of society It has taken thousands of years to develop and it is the greatest the most distinguishing uality which has evolved with mankind None of man's temples none of his religions none of his weapons his tools his arts his sciences nothing else he has grown to is so great a thing as his justice his sense of justice The true law is something in itself; it is the spirit of the moral nature of man; it is an existence apart like God and as worthy of worship as God If we can touch God at all where do we touch him save in the conscience? And what is the conscience of any man save his little fragment of the conscience of all men in all time?In spite of the cautions the posse proceeds forward with 27 men and one woman under the direction of Tetley a Confederate veteran Tetley's son a bookish and reflective individual also comes along at the command of his father but disapproves of the venture As the posse moves along many of its members talk among themselves with further reflections on what they propose to doThe posse ultimately comes across three individuals asleep in the snow around a campfire They are brought in summarily uestioned and brutally hanged with objections and opposition from a few of the posse including Davies and the younger Tetley Almost immediately thereafter the innocence of the condemned men is established The town sheriff condemns the action but pointedly refuses to identify the perpetrators thus allowing those in the posse to return and to pursue their lives unpunishedUpon its release The Ox Bow Incident was seen as a warning about fascism The uestions the book poses about the nature of responsibility community justice and mob action transcend any particular time or political movement The actions of the protagonists of the novel and their many discussions at the various stages of the story offer many opportunities for reflection and discussion The setting of the book in the Old West with the growing town and the majestic scenery are integral to the novelI took from the story a lesson about the dangers of mob action and of the need for individual reflection and thought in the middle of provocation ualities that the book suggests are rareThis thoughtful book deserves to be read and will dispel many of the prejudices some readers may have about the Western genre The book is readily available individually and is also included in an upcoming Library of America anthology The Western Four Classic Novels of the 1940s and 50sRobin Friedman


  6. says:

    More than just a western themed novel A story of cattle rustling and murder the lengths that men will go to for vengeance without a shred of concrete evidence A story of good versus evil and the power of the mob The story unfolds through the eyes of Art Croft and his partner Gil who become swept along with a town intent on vigilante justice and the conseuences of their actionsEnjoyed the second half of this novel so than the first Felt that the early parts were a little slower to develop Interesting and complex characters on offer here Well written for the genre


  7. says:

    The Ox Bow Incident is a classic in the truest sense of the word It is a timeless book that speaks to our common humanity and remains just as relevant today as the day that it was written It reminds us that no matter how much our world has changed – no matter how sophisticated our technology – we humans have changed very little As I read The Ox Bow Incident it gradually dawned on me that this book had a message This was shockingly refreshing to me I generally read a lot of what my mom had once characterized as “trash” – science fiction fantasy horror These books were filled with dragons zombies lost treasures and packed full of adventure All fun but not really pushing the reader very much The Ox Bow Incident was a dramatic departure It is a book about the nature of justice the human desire to fit in and our fear of confronting evil The book follows two drifters in a dusty Western town is there any other kind? Art Croft and Gil Carter ride into town where the tension is so thick you could cut it with a butter knife Rustlers have been stealing cattle and ranchers are going out of business Everyone is on edge Tempers are high and everyone is drinking whiskey like there is no tomorrow The tension is ratcheted up a notch as Gil gets into a fight with a local over a poker game Then just as a real grim and foreboding sense of menace settled over me a young boy rides into town A well liked local has been killed Cattle are missingThe simmering tension boils over and the townsfolk begin forming a lynch mob Some locals try to slow things down but tensions are running high This wasn't just about rustling any longer A man was dead Men wanted to end this problem once and for all The rustlers couldn't be far The time for action was now A few locals notably Davies try to slow things down but the pack of men takes on a life and energy of its own “Men let us not act hastily; let us not do that which we will regret We must act certainly but we must act in a reasoned and legitimate manner not as a lawless mob We desire justice and justice has never been obtained in haste and strong feeling”The other side the side hot for action will have nothing of talk of delay “I don’t know about the rest of you but I've had enough of rustling Do we have rights as men and cattlemen or don’t we? We know what Tyler is or any man like Tyler” he added glaring at Osgood “if we wait I tell you there won’t be one head of anybody’s cattle left in the meadows by the time we get justice” He ridiculed the work “justice” by his tone “For that matter” he called raising his voice higher “what is justice? Is it justice that we sweat ourselves sick and old every damned day of the year to make a handful of honest dollars and then lose it all in one night to some miserable greaser because Judge Tyler whatever God make of him says we have to fold our hands and wait for his eternal justice? Waiting for Tyler’s kind of justice we’d all be beggars in a year”The men are swayed by the need for action now They see the problem They see a good chance at a solution Despite individual uiet or private misgivings a posse is formed and they ride out To fail to act is to let down their neighbors and their own sense of what it means to be an independent man Men protect what they own They fight to protect what they own To do otherwise would let down their neighbors and in a small town the disapproval of one’s neighbors is a powerful force To emphasize this point the author recounts the story of Rose an attractive charismatic unmarried woman who was driven from the town by the ostracization of the other largely married women in townAt the Ox Bow the posse does of course find three cowboys with a herd of cattle They have no bill of sale and their story just doesn't add up There is a further build up in pressure The two sides form again Tetley and Farnley argued passionately for justice “We've got the bastards; well what are we waiting for? Let them swing I say” Davies strives to make the case for delaying the hanging “I’m not trying to delay justice But I do want to see real justice This is a farce; this is as Mr Martin has said murder” The ranchers and townsfolk argue throughout the night finally settling to hang the three men at dawnThirty minutes later the Sheriff arrives Tragically the men were telling the truth And here is where the book really shines as the conseuences of their rush to judgment hammer home Davies is in a personal hell Despite fighting the longest and hardest to save the three men he blames himself He knew that he could've saved the men but he failed to act – because he was afraid afraid of confronting a strong man he knew was wrong afraid of the conflict afraid of the social disruption “I knew those men were innocent I knew it as surely as I do now And I knew that Tetley could be stopped I knew in that moment you were all ready to be turned And I was glad I didn't have a gun I had everything justice pity even the backing – and I knew it – and I let those three men hand because I was afraid The lowest kind of virtue the uality dogs have when they need it the only thing that Tetley had guts plain guts and I didn’t have it”V stars out of V This book is as relevant today as it was when it was first written The dark brooding mood of the narrative and the almost mournful melancholy characters create a spellbinding tale of human weakness and the damning rush to judgment What is justice? How do we find justice? What will you sacrifice to stand up to evil? A book that asks uestions like these is in my mind a classic And this book should totally be reuired high school reading in my humble opinion


  8. says:

    I had seen The Ox Bow Incident movie 1943 several times and it had such an effect on me that has not been forgotten over the years and never will be it is that kind of movie I think this was Henry Fonda best performance IMO I am not a big fan of his but he was perfect in this role So when I was looking for books that I had seen the movie I had to put Ox Bow on my list and when listening to an OTR uiz show last week Information Please this book was mentioned in all its greatness and knew it was time read it I also heard the Lady Ester's Screen Guild Theater September 18 1944 which had its spin The movie and OTR had their spin but the ending basically the same In OTR the Henry Fonda character is not present but centers on two men different in their personalities Davies a merchant law abiding Tently a confederate soldier and ranch owner who thinks himself the law The movie and OTR had a different feel which had clear white and black areas In the book lynching is seen as wrong but there is such a grey area with the characters which gives a realistic view of the mob which is neither pretty or pleasant to read Walter Van Tilburg Clark does such a great job in showing us readers the darkness that can happen when mob rules and the individual gives himself to this afraid to speak for himself Even in today's modern world we see the injustice of man in his rush to judgementat times and even though the rule of law is not to our liking sometimes this book shows perfectly why it should never be forgotten The same scene that had me crying in the movie had me doing the same in the book If a book gets me to cry now that is something kind of rare which makes this an ultimate favorite of mine and it is placed there with pleasureOTR September 9 1944httpswwwoldtimeradiodownloadscom


  9. says:

    Assuming you had some reason for doing so you could dig up all kinds of critical commentary claiming that Walter Van Tilburg Clark's Western classic The Ox Bow Incident transcends the genre Transcends the genre What does that mean? That's one of those dumb things critics like to say when they accidentally like something they're not supposed to Wait a minute this is really good It can't be Westernscifihorroretc; therefore it music swells TRANSCENDS THE GENRE Nonsense The Ox Bow Incident doesn't transcend the genre It's a fine example OF the genre and what good genre writing can accomplish though it's not the finest example Ox Bow is a short book but it still feels about 50 pages too long It meanders and repeats itself I'd like to see an alternate universe version of the book written by El Leonard or Joe Lansdale something economical something sharper edged and snappier Clark kills too much time lovingly describing every posy of the field He didn't have to transcribe every word in the seemingly neverending debate over the rights and wrongs ins and outs yeas or nays and backs and forths of a ranchers' necktie party And his vigilante posse could stand to lose a handful of characters who do little but clutter the trail Still if flowery passages and levels of political allegory are what it takes to wrangle critical favor for a lowly genre work then write em cowboy


  10. says:

    I read this at the suggestion of my Dad and I really enjoyed it The book takes place in the Old West and it is about the dangers of mob law and a lesson I think we could all benefit from even in today's world when the media often decides people are guilty of crimes before they have a chance to state their case in a court of law It was beautifully written and I highly recommend it